Nothing says summer quite like a big juicy, bright-red slice of watermelon. Biting into the refreshingly succulent goodness of this chilled fruit on a hot summer day can transport you to a pleasant retreat, even if it’s only for a minute.
No beach-side family picnic is complete without packing a generous supply of this sweet-tasting heavenly treat. What does, however, dim the glory of watermelons in the eyes of a great many sworn admirers is the pesky seed that comes in the way of enjoying its delectable pulp.
In order to deal with this singular downside, people often resort to painstakingly picking out the seeds while cutting up a watermelon for a fruit salad, or spitting them out incessantly while munching on a slice of watermelon. Nowadays, you can even buy a seedless watermelon to make life easier.
Frown on watermelon seeds as much as you want, but you wouldn’t be so fussy about eating them once you get a load of their undeniable whole-body health benefits. Dried and roasted watermelon seeds are perfectly edible and are prized for their high nutritional value among health circles.
Watermelon seeds make a great snack when they have been dried and roasted and can easily take the place of other unhealthy snack options.
Nutritional Value of Watermelon
The important nutritional components of watermelon seeds are protein, several B and other vitamins, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, potassium, copper, manganese, and zinc. Another factor that endears watermelon seeds to health experts is the fact that they are low in calories and replete with healthy unsaturated fats.
Nutritional value of watermelon seeds per 100 grams:
- Water – 5.05 g
- Energy – 557 kcal
- Protein – 28.33 g
- Total lipid – 47.37 g
- Carbohydrate – 15.31 g
- Calcium, Ca – 54 mg
- Iron, Fe – 7.28 mg
- Magnesium, Mg –515 mg
- Phosphorus, P – 755 mg
- Potassium, K – 648 mg
- Sodium, Na – 99 mg
- Zinc, Zn – 10.24 mg
- Niacin – 3.55 mg
- Folate – 58 mcg
- Thiamin –0.190 mg
How to Make Roasted Watermelon Seeds
Most people do not like the taste or texture of raw watermelon seeds, but they are likely to change their mind once they get a taste of dry-roasted watermelon seeds. Here’s how you can whip up this perfectly healthy crispy brown munchie:
- Thoroughly rinse and dry the seeds.
- Soak the seeds in water overnight.
- Wait for a few days until they sprout.
- Remove the tougher outer black shell from the seeds, and then dry the seeds in an oven or simply under the sun.
- Spread the seeds out on a roasting pan.
- Drizzle a small amount of vegetable or olive oil over them and sprinkle a little sea salt.
- Roast them at 325°F for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Allow the roasted watermelon seeds to cool before enjoying them as a healthy snack.
You can sprinkle a little cinnamon powder or a mix of lemon juice and chili powder over the roasted seeds to make them extra-flavorsome.
A handful of these seeds is just what you need to add some crunch to your salads. Similarly, a generous sprinkling of roasted watermelon seeds in your homemade smoothies can give them added texture and a rich flavor.
If you prefer to buy store-packed roasted watermelon seeds, make sure to check the nutritional label first.
Health Benefits of Watermelonn Seeds
Here are 10 reasons to try watermelon seeds.
1. Aids in Diabetes Management
When incorporated in an overall well-balanced diet, watermelon seeds may prove helpful in managing diabetes and preventing related complications. Due to their high fiber content, the seeds can help in blood sugar control and promote weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes.
The seeds contain an amino acid that serves to relax and dilate the blood vessels and thereby may help reduce inflammation.
Also, the magnesium component of watermelon seeds helps regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates, which can impact blood sugar levels.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management found that watermelon seed extract may be a supportive treatment to combat diabetes complications.
Reap these bounteous benefits by boiling watermelon seeds to make watermelon tea.
- Put a handful of watermelon seeds in 4 cups of water.
- Boil it for 45 minutes, keeping the pot covered.
- Allow it to cool.
- Drink this concoction regularly like tea.
2. Fights Fatigue
Eating a handful of watermelon seeds may help fight fatigue by boosting your energy levels.
The seeds are rich in iron, an important component of hemoglobin that helps transport oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Iron also assists your body with the conversion of calories into energy and helps in nourishing your immune system.
Additionally, watermelon seeds contain an amino acid called L-citrulline, which may help reduce muscular fatigue.
3. Keeps the Heart Healthy
When combined with a healthy diet and active lifestyle, consuming watermelon seeds can also help ensure that your heart remains in good condition.
First of all, the seeds are rich in both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that help stave off heart attacks and strokes by lowering the levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood.
In addition, the seeds contain a good amount of potassium that helps combat heart disease and keeps your heart healthy. Plus, the amino acids citrulline and arginine provided by the seeds help maintain healthy arteries, blood flow, and overall cardiovascular functioning.
4. Keeps Blood Pressure under Control
Watermelon seeds are very high in protein that consists of several amino acids. One of the amino acids is arginine. While the body produces some arginine, consuming additional arginine through your diet helps regulate blood pressure and may reduce complications of coronary heart disease.
The magnesium in watermelon seeds may also help regulate blood pressure. In fact, some studies have found an association between a low level of magnesium in the body and higher blood pressure.
Low magnesium can also contribute to a lower potassium level, which is an important nutrient for keeping your blood pressure under control.
5. Keeps Muscles Healthy
Watermelon seeds are very effective in improving your muscle health and preventing muscle soreness after your workout.
First of all, watermelon seeds are one of the few food sources that contain L-citrulline, a nutrient important for tissue repair and athletic performance. It is thought that L-citrulline helps to smooth muscle relaxation, enhances anaerobic performance, and relieves muscle soreness or fatigue.
Also, the magnesium in these tiny seeds is important for muscle health. Magnesium plays a role in energy metabolism and muscle function and may help improve exercise performance.
6. Reduces Body Fat
Watermelon seeds are rich in a compound called citrulline, which metabolizes into the essential amino acid arginine. Arginine may help reduce the rate at which the body stores fat.
The seeds are also low in calories, making them quite compatible with your weight loss diet. They do contain a little fat, but it is healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Thus, incorporating roasted watermelon seeds as a healthy snack can help control your body fat when combined with other healthy lifestyle changes.
Be mindful that 1 ounce of watermelon seeds contain approximately 158 calories. Although an ounce contains about 400 seeds, it’s unlikely that you’ll eat that much in one sitting.
7. Improves Brain Functioning
Watermelon seeds are a good source of folate, also known as folic acid or vitamin B9. Folate is important for proper brain functioning. In fact, pregnant women should ensure proper folate intake, as its deficiency has been associated with certain neural tubal birth defects.
It is also thought that the healthy fatty acids that can be found in the seeds boost the functioning of neurotransmitters, which in turn improves memory and cognitive skills.
Also, the potassium in the seeds may help improve thinking and recall capacity for people with memory impairments. In addition, being packed with antioxidants, the tiny seeds also protect the brain cells from free-radical damage.
8. Backents Eye Problems
These tiny seeds are good for your vision and can reduce the risk of premature eye degeneration and other eye diseases.
The vitamin A in the seeds is particularly good for your eyes. In fact, a deficiency of vitamin A is linked to macular degeneration.
Also, vitamin C in the seeds is essential in keeping your eyes healthy. This antioxidant helps protect your eyes from other age-related issues, such as dry eyes and cataracts.
9. Improves Hair Health
Hair is mostly made up of protein, and thus protein deficiency, although uncommon in developed countries, can have a negative impact on hair growth.
As watermelon seeds contain a notable amount of protein, eating them can play a role in preventing protein malnutrition or compensate for any kind of existing protein deficiency.
Also, the high iron content in the seeds helps reduce the risk of iron deficiency, which may be a cause of hair loss. Eating enough iron can help prevent your hair from becoming thin, dry, and dull.
On top of that, roasted seeds contain copper, which is needed for the body to produce melanin, a pigment that gives color to your hair.
Aside from eating watermelon seeds, you can also use watermelon seed oil to improve your hair health. As the oil is easily absorbed by your scalp, it is said to help treat an itchy scalp and ensure healthy hair growth, although further research is needed to conclusively prove these claims.
10. Makes Skin Glow
Watermelon seeds can also help keep your skin glowing and beautiful for years to come.
The vitamin C in the seeds works as a powerful antioxidant to keep your skin protected from free-radical damage, which is at the root of premature skin aging. Vitamin C also induces the production of collagen, which is important for keeping your skin smooth, supple, and healthy.
Furthermore, the tiny seeds are rich in fatty acids such as oleic acid and linoleum acid, which help keep your skin moisturized. Although watermelon seed oil is likely suitable for all skin types, it is especially effective for people with dry skin.
All you need to do to optimize the skin-enhancing prowess of watermelon seeds is massage your skin with its oil daily before taking a shower.
- Abutair AS, Naser IA, Hamed AT. Soluble fibers from psyllium improve glycemic response and body weight among diabetes type 2 patients (randomized control trial). Nutrition Journal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5062871/. Published October 12, 2016.
- Moore PK. Amino acids dilate resistance blood vessels of the perfused rat mesentery. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.2042-7158.1989.tb06351.x. Published April 12, 2011.
- Mooren FC. Magnesium and disturbances in carbohydrate metabolism. Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25974209. Published September 2015.
- Omigie IO, Agoreyo FO. Effects of Watermelon ( Citrullus lanatus ) Seed on Blood Glucose and Electrolyte Parameters in Diabetic Wistar Rats. Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management. https://www.ajol.info/index.php/jasem/article/view/105439. Published 2014.
- Hemoglobin and Functions of Iron. UCSF Medical Center. https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/hemoglobin_and_functions_of_iron/.
- Farney TM, Bliss MV, Hearon CM, Salazar DA. The Effect of Citrulline Malate Supplementation On Muscle Fatigue Among Healthy Participants. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00124278-900000000-95632. Published November 22, 2017.
- Maki KC, Palacios OM, Lindner E, Nieman KM, Bell M, Sorce J. Replacement of Refined Starches and Added Sugars with Egg Protein and Unsaturated Fats Increases Insulin Sensitivity and Lowers Triglycerides in Overweight or Obese Adults with Elevated Triglycerides. Current neurology and neuroscience reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28515160. Published July 2017.
- Aaron KJ, Sanders PW. Role of dietary salt and potassium intake in cardiovascular health and disease: a review of the evidence. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24001491. Published September 2013.
- Hong MY, Beidler J, Hooshmand S, Figueroa A, Kern M. Watermelon and l-arginine consumption improve serum lipid profile and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress by altering gene expression in rats fed an atherogenic diet. Nutrition Research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30340814. Published October 2018.
- Zhang X, Li Y, Del LC, et al. Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Blood Pressure: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trials. Hypertension. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27402922. Published August 2016.
- Huang C-L, Kuo E. Mechanism of Hypokalemia in Magnesium Deficiency. Journal of American Society of Nephrology. https://jasn.asnjournals.org/content/18/10/2649. Published October 1, 2007.
- Zhang Y, Xun P, Wang R, Mao L, He K. Can Magnesium Enhance Exercise Performance? Nutrients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28846654. Published August 28, 2017.
- Hurt RT, Ebbert JO, Schroeder DR, et al. L-arginine for the treatment of centrally obese subjects: a pilot study. Journal of Dietary Supplements. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24409974. Published March 2014.
- Au KS, Findley TO, Northrup H. Finding the genetic mechanisms of folate deficiency and neural tube defects-Leaving no stone unturned. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28944587. Published November 2017.
- Su HM. Mechanisms of n-3 fatty acid-mediated development and maintenance of learning memory performance. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20233652. Published May 2010.
- Cisternas P, Lindsay CB, Salazar P, et al. The increased potassium intake improves cognitive performance and attenuates histopathological markers in a model of Alzheimer’s disease. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Reviews on Cancer. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26391254. Published December 2015.
- Hah YS, Chung HJ, Sontakke SB, et al. Ascorbic acid concentrations in aqueous humor after systemic vitamin C supplementation in patients with cataract: a pilot study. BMC Ophthalmology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28693452. Published July 11, 2017.
- Trüeb RM. Effect of ultraviolet radiation, smoking, and nutrition on hair. Current Problems in Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26370649. Published 2015.
- Deloche C, Bastien P, Chadoutaud S, et al. Low iron stores: a risk factor for excessive hair loss in non-menopausal women. European Journal of Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17951130. Published 2007.
- Borkow G. Using Copper to Improve the Well-Being of the Skin. Current Chemical Biology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4556990/. Published August 2014.
- Pullar JM, Carr AC, Vissers MCM. The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/. Published August 12, 2017.
- Lin T- K, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/. Published December 27, 2017.
- Basic Report: 12174, Seeds, watermelon seed kernels, dried. USDA Food Composition Databases. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/12174. Published April 2018.